Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Prudent Prepping: What to Do When Things Turn Ugly

The dust has settled and the First 72 Hours have passed. Follow along as I build a long term plan via Prudent Prepping.

Given the current political climate, now seems to be a good time to do a review of what to do and how to act if I'm caught up in a 'disturbance.'

I wrote about this last November, right before the polls closed. Things have not changed enough for me to feel safe in the areas I drive, but I do have a much better feel for how I can get through the places I work and back home.

All those points still apply:
  • Plan alternate routes
  • Have places to stay
  • Don't be afraid to turn back at the first sign of trouble. 

What still needs to be covered is...

What to Do If Accidentally Caught in a Protest
First of all, don't be where protests are planned to happen. The protests where the most damage has occurred have all had official permits, issued well in advance. The Public Notice periods usually last for weeks, so there isn't much of a surprise when and where the demonstrations start.

The Most Important Rule: Don't Get Caught In A Riot
Seriously, stay away.

When things get crazy, the police aren't going to care that you just left a birthday party or had to work late. They will have a difficult enough time picking out the rioters from the regular protesters and those who are just there by mistake, so be careful with what you do and how you act. During a riot, you are all potentially dangerous in the eyes of the police. When the the order to break it up and break heads comes, it doesn’t matter who you are or what you are doing there in the first place.

If you have not intended to participate in the riot (which I hope was the plan):
  • Do not interact with anyone. 
  • Don't look at anyone.
  • Try not to have any physical contact with those around you while you walk out. 
  • Do not become a target or get noticed.
  • Just keep moving.

Getting Out
I'm old enough to have been around the riots in Berkeley and Oakland CA in the late 60's and 70's. (Yes I'm really that old.) I can say from first hand experience that old-style tear gas is no fun, and I was only getting a very diluted whiff from two blocks away from the canisters. When things go 'non-linear' it is best to be already on the way to safety. How do you do that?

  • Start walking and don't stop. 
  • Don't run. That will draw attention to you, both from the cops and those around you. 
  • Look for the edge of the crowd and make your way there.
  • If there is a store you can hide in, do that while you figure out an escape route. 
  • Don't pick a high value target as your hideout! That Starbucks might seem inviting, but recent history says that is a poor choice. 
  • Get to the edge of the crowd, but don't try to walk against the flow - that could get you knocked down. Travel at a diagonal to the direction the crowd is going until you get out of the main body, hopefully well away from the agitators and potential violence. 
  • If the crowd is running, that is a bad sign that trouble is right behind. This is about the only time running might be advised, since you don't want to be on the tail end of the crowd and therefore the first to see what caused them to start running!
  • Most importantly, stay calm and work you way out of trouble.

The Takeaway
  • Plan ahead. No one wants to use their spare tire, but everyone should have one.
  • Know what to do if things go bad.
  • Stay calm, don't rush, and walk your way to safety.

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NOTE: All items tested were purchased by me. No products have been loaned in exchange for a favorable review. Any items sent to me for T&E will be listed as such. Suck it Feds.

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